It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Marion Harloe, who served on the OC Human Relations Commission from 1989-1996, passed away on February 22, 2013. Marion was in her mid-90’s and had been suffering a series of health setbacks following a fall and broken hip that would not heal. She was in pain that was difficult to manage. Her sons Bart and Bill were with her when she died.
Marion Harloe was the epitomy of grace with the spirit of a warrior. She was outraged at injustice and outspoken in her advocacy. Marion was a thoughtful person who based her opinions on research and data as well as her heart of gold. She was a brilliant analyst who was tenacious but diplomatic.
In her role as Commissioner she once stood before the Board of Supervisors addressing the proposed devastating cuts to this civil rights arm of the County, and broke the ice with her public comment addressing Gaddi Vasquez, the Chairman of the Board as, “Gaddi you were still in diapers and suspenders when we started this important work”. The chairman chuckled and audience erupted in laughter, her serious comments followed and found the mark as she had neutralized those who would have discounted the testimony of this unassuming little old woman.
Marion was a voice for the poor, she bristled when OC Human Relations started our $200 a person Gala to raise money, harkening back to our grassroots affair where we served dinner and entertainment for $10 a person and welcomed all to attend, before the fundraising became essential to our survival.
Marion was a delightful person to work with, always a kind word and a quick smile, but never drifting from her internal compass that pointed True North, the path to justice, respect, and equality for all.
At OC Human Relations our hearts fly at half mast for an amazing woman, Marion Harloe.